"There is a lot of
planning and organizing that goes into gardening, and it is not
something that any school employee has time to do. The maintenance of
the garden, the prep of materials, and coordination of schedules and
volunteers would be too much of a burden on a classroom teacher."
Melanie Laurent - First grade teacher
Granny's Garden School launched the Schoolyard Nature Network in 2011 to
support the development of school garden programs in the Greater
Cincinnati Area. Through this program we offer workshops and
general support to school garden developers.
This year, 2012, we are launching the School
Garden Incubator Program. The Incubator is designed to allow us to
work one on one with a small group (6-8) of start-up and early stage
school garden programs. It offers these school whatever support they
need to take their program to the next step and develop an action plan
to fit their specific needs.
There is no charge for being part of the incubator. Membership is
by invitation. We welcome Sycamore Presbyterian Preschool, Brookwood
Elementary, Marr Cook Elementary, Rothenberg Elementary, Milford High
School, Meadowview Elementary, Sands Montessori, Mason High School and
What the incubator offers each school, depends on what they determine are
their greatest needs. There are some concerns
that may be common to everyone in the Incubator i.e. What seeds to plant
when and where to get them? While others will be specific to
one site. Below is a list of areas we have
already identified where we can offer support, others will be determined
as we work together.
- On site consultation - We can spot in a minute potential
problems and opportunities with a specific site.
- An account at the
School Garden Resource Bank – a repository of in-kind
donations of supplies
useful for a
including, but not limited to, seeds, tools and plants. We already
have supply lines established for in-kind donations. We will show
you how to establish additional resources in your area. We will
have a supply of garden trowels, seeds and a limited amount of
compost to start with. We are writing a grant proposal to secure
funding for other supplies. We will work with the group to
determine how best to make these available. Tools will be loaned
out as needed. We anticipate that by your 2nd
year you will have
you own tools.
- Access to free seeds - (in addition to the ones
received at initial training workshops).
We long ago developed relationships with seed companies that send us
thousands of dollars worth of surplus seeds - Of course, you can
submit requests for donations for seeds to these same companies.
However, when Granny's started we were a unique program asking for
help, now your request would one among thousands they receive each
- Phone and email support
to answer questions as needed.
- The opportunity to purchase seeds as part of a group purchase.
Though we receive loads of donated seeds, in the last couple of
years, we have found it to be more beneficial to purchase most of
the seeds we use in the class gardens. Over the years, we learned
which varieties of plants work best for our gardens. For example,
we grow bush cucumbers which produce a large amount of cucumbers in
a 3' space rather than the ones that vine all over the place. We
grow a variety of colors of lettuce, beets, carrots and potatoes to
make it more interesting for students to try new vegetables. We use
donated seeds to fill some of these needs but of course it is hit or
miss which varieties we will receive.
- Teacher in-service training. There may be a fee for this
($100 per hour) unless we secure a grant to cover this.
- Networking with
other school garden developers in the Incubator.
- Involvement in our
development of a funding stream for school garden programs.
- Other benefits as they